|Quoting BestWestern (Reply 5):|
LOT has no future unless it is operated as a commercial entity, rather than a plaything of the Polish government.
Completely agreed. This is why, IMHO, selling LO
to an airline that has a proven track record of success and a desire to maximize the strategic potential of the WAW
hub is the best option. (Restrictive EU ownership guidelines blocked TK
from buying LO
out. That would have been perfect.)
So at the moment, LOT is a huge liability. The many recent CEO's have all had "restructuring" as their main action point, with very mixed results. Most recent talks
(link in Polish only, sorry) center on LOT moving more heavily towards the LCC model (i.e. replacing E-jets with 737NG's, unbundling fees, etc). This contrasts with the airline's current strategy to market itself as a boutique Central European connecting hub (787 this summer, premium on ticket prices and the like).
All of this begs the question: what is LOT's future role in the European aviation market? I think addressing the problem from this perspective helps-
's position as a potential connecting hub between Eastern Europe/Central Asia and Western Europe/North America
- Strong and rapidly growing domestic air travel market
- Low labor costs
- 8 787's on order
- Largest share of Polish air travel market (29% and relatively steady)
- Lack of clear strategy and leadership within the airline (here the "government plaything" dynamic comes into play)
- Several years of unprofitable operations have forced the government to offer rescue loans
- The jury is still out whether there is enough local demand for flights east from Warsaw
- Generally weak premium demand in Poland
So is being absorbed by an airline like DY
, a low cost carrier with longhaul ambitions, the answer?